David Holmes, the founder of Ashes to Blooms, discusses how the heart-breaking loss of his beloved rabbit companion, Lucy, inspired him to create an innovative memorial service that uses unique wildflower seed balls to grow beautiful memorials with the ashes of loved ones.
“I was born in Worthing and have lived there all my life, apart from my time at University and a brief spell in Brighton. Growing up, we had a full house, with mum, dad, my two younger sisters, my older brother, foster children and myself. In addition, at one time or another, we had also every pet imaginable – Vietnamese pot-bellied pigs, stick insects, dogs, cats, horses, chickens, ducks, bantams, fish, rats, mice, gerbils, guineapigs, rabbits and more! As a result, I was raised as an animal-lover, and a house without animals has never felt like home.
“After a relationship breakdown in 2009 I decided that it was the right time to find a companion animal. In the summer of 2010 I was at the South of England Show at Ardingly, when I came across a beautiful Netherland Dwarf rabbit, later to become known as Lucy. I instantly knew that she was the girl for me! She came home with me that afternoon and she was the best companion for almost 12 years. Lucy lived free in my lounge, and made it entirely hers! We referred to it as “Lucy’s lounge”, as she was very much the boss of the domain. Lucy was full of love, enjoying strokes and cuddles, as well as being feisty and endlessly naughty!
“By January 2022, Lucy had really slowed down as a result of arthritis, and on 27 January I made the heart-rending decision to have her put down. I was distraught and there seemed like no way to do justice to the companion she had been and the incredible happiness and fun she had brought to my life over the past almost 12 years. It was as a result of this loss, that I set about creating Ashes to Blooms.
“Since coming-up with the idea for Ashes to Blooms in March 2022, we have eventually managed to build a website (battling endless ‘error’ messages), worked out a method of production and sent endless emails and samples to people who we hope can see the benefits of our service. I am so grateful to my friends, partner and family for their endless advice, technical assistance, leaflet-drops & social media ‘likes’, ‘shares’ and ‘follows’.
“At the moment there is an incredible focus on the environment and this is at the heart of everything we do at Ashes to Blooms. All ingredients in our seed balls are natural and the wildflower seeds we use are all from varieties native to the UK. These flowers are ideal for attracting bees and butterflies to our gardens and helping to restore their habitat, much of which has been lost as a result of development. We use no artificial ingredients in our seed balls and we use recycled packaging and marketing materials wherever possible.
We now look forward to helping other families who have lost a loved one, whether a beloved family member or an animal companion, to find peace.”